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Kotbi Abderrahmane
Kotbi Abderrahmane

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How to create a production Docker image

In a previous article, I explained how to create a virtual development workspace using Docker. Thus, I thought that it would be great if I presented a slightly different example using Docker. In this article, I am going to show you how to create a production Docker container ready for deployment. To make it interesting, I will work on a JakartaEE, and MySQL application. Therefore, you will learn how to build a multiple building stages Docker image using one single Dockerfile. Brief, this article aims to teach you and encourage you to learn more about Docker, because it's a very interesting technology. Maybe in the upcoming articles, I am going to do the exact same using Docker composer or Docker swarm (tell me if you are interested in such articles).

What are we trying to achieve?

First things first, we need a ready-to-use JakartaEE application. Luckily, I already prepared an application that you can find in this Github repository. It is a JakartaEE application tested on tomcat and requires a MySQL database. Hence, we need only to create one simple Dockerfile to get the job done. This last should:

  1. Build the project. As a result, we will get a ready to run .war file.
  2. Set up the .war produced file for our Tomcat application server.
  3. Copy tomcat directory to new Docker image in which we have our MySQL database ready to use.
  4. Run the application!

That been said, the work on our single Dockerfile will be divided into two parties. In the first part we are going to work on the first and second step described above (let's call it Tomcat Side), and in the second part we are going to work on the third step (let's call it MySQL side). Finally, we will test our application.

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Tomcat Side: Building and deploying the application to Tomcat application server

The application used in this article relies on the maven build tool. The simple following command generates the .war file:

$ mvn package
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Firstly, to use Tomcat you can use the suitable Docker image from Tomcat (based on the used Linux distribution and JDK version) official page on DockerHub. In this case, I usedtomcat:8.5.63-jdk11 and I named TomcatSide. Surely, we will copy the project files into the Docker image and install maven to build the project. After building the project, deploying the application to Tomcat can be done easily by copying the generated .war file to tomcat/webapps directory. You can do this eventually using the command:

cp -rf ./target/Cabinet_Medical-0.0.1-SNAPSHOT.war /usr/local/tomcat/webapps
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Consequently, the Tomcat side would be:

# Create Docker image based on the tomcat:8.5.63-jdk11 base image and name it TomcatSide. 
FROM tomcat:8.5.63-jdk11 AS tomcatside

# Set up work directory
WORKDIR /Cabiner_Medical

# Copy the entire project to your Docker image
COPY . .

# Install maven
RUN apt-get update && \
    apt install maven -y && \
    java -version && \
    mvn -version
# Build the project
RUN mvn package

# Deploy the .war file to Tomcat server
RUN cp -rf ./target/Cabinet_Medical-0.0.1-SNAPSHOT.war /usr/local/tomcat/webapps
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MySQL Side: Set up the database and run the application

As you may notice the previous section of this article isn't enough. We need our database! As the first section can be a general example of how to use tomcat in Docker, this one is a general example too that you can get inspired from to prepare your MySQL database and run a Tomcat server in Docker.

Hence, to create a Docker image with our I used a ready MySQL server Docker image from the official MySQL DockerHub container. Next, I set up the root user password, the database name, and the database schema. After that, I copied the /usr/local/tomcat directory from tomcatside image to the actual image. The following step is needed only so that we can run Tomcat server. It consists of installing the appropriate Java version and getting Tomcat application server ready for the final step, which is building our production image.

FROM mysql:latest

# Set up the password and the database name
ENV MYSQL_ROOT_PASSWORD=Strong@Independent1Password
ENV MYSQL_DATABASE=bd_cabinetmedicale

# Set up the database schema. The following line will result in having a database with tables and content
# To avoid any problems you need to make sure that your SQL code works fine.
ADD ./resources/dataBases.sql /docker-entrypoint-initdb.d

WORKDIR /usr/local/tomcat

# Copy the tomcat directory from tomcateside to this image
COPY --from=tomcatside /usr/local/tomcat /usr/local/tomcat

# Set up tomcat, and JDK
WORKDIR /usr/local/tomcat/webapps

ENV CATALINA_BASE=/usr/local/tomcat
ENV CATALINA_HOME=/usr/local/tomcat
ENV CATALINA_TMPDIR=usr/local/tomcat/temp
ENV JRE_HOME=/usr
ENV CLASSPATH=/usr/local/tomcat/bin/bootstrap.jar:/usr/local/tomcat/bin/tomcat-juli.jar

RUN apt-get update && \
    apt-get install openjdk-11-jdk -y && \
    apt-get update && \
    apt-get install ca-certificates-java && \
    apt-get clean && \
    update-ca-certificates -f && \
    java -version

ENV JAVA_HOME /usr/lib/jvm/java-11-openjdk

RUN export JAVA_HOME && \
    export CATALINA_BASE && \
    export CATALINA_HOME && \
    export CATALINA_TMPDIR && \
    export JRE_HOME && \
    export CLASSPATH

# WORKDIR /var/run

# RUN cp mysqld/ mysqld.bc -rf
# RUN chown mysql:mysql mysqld.bc/

EXPOSE 8080

# Run the application
WORKDIR /usr/local/tomcat/bin
RUN chmod +x catalina.sh

CMD ["/usr/local/tomcat/bin/catalina.sh", "run"]
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And here it is the final Dockerfile:

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One other final step

Congratulations, you created your Dockerfile you need only the following command to build the Docker image:

$ docker build --pull --rm -f "Dockerfile" -t cabinetmedical:latest "."
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Also, you need this command to run your container:

$ docker run --name="temp"-it  -p 3306:3306/tcp -p 33060:33060/tcp -p 8080:8080/tcp cabinetmedical:latest
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And to accede to the container's shell terminal:

$ docker exec -it temp
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Finally:

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Now that you completed your Dockerfile, you can build your image. Probably you will see something like this on your terminal:
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Conclusion

This article is a simple example in which I used docker multiple stages building to create using a single Dockerfile a production Docker image. I was excited about this article because often after learning Docker we use it less in our projects. Instead, we just go to Dockerhub whenever we need a database image or any kind of image that we need to pull. Don't get me wrong please, I have nothing against that it is totally normal for me. However, you can make more exciting things using docker. That is why I highly encourage you to try to make something similar to what I did in this article in your project. I hope you enjoyed my article, and thank you!

Discussion (7)

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zarkbe profile image
ZARk

Hello.
Why not use docker-compose?
The Point of docker containers is to get a more flexible architecture.

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abdorah profile image
Kotbi Abderrahmane Author

That's in fact a very good option for doing this. But I wanted to show also multiple stages building in docker.

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donut87 profile image
Christian Baer

An easy and solid way to do so, would be to use 2 different containers for building and deploying.
You build with a mvn container and copy only the .war file to the production container. This covers two aspects. First and foremost, the production docker image is much much smaller (no mvn, no compile logs, no other clutter) and second you can show the multi stage build.
Then use docker-compose, kubernetes or something of the like to start up your environment.

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pjotre86 profile image
pjotre86

Thanks! How about running the image as a non-root user?

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abdorah profile image
Kotbi Abderrahmane Author

Thank very much for your comment! Indeed that's an interesting question. I run my images as a non-root user on my fedora linux computer. I followed the exact steps that you will find in this link:
docs.docker.com/engine/install/lin...
I hope it helps.

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pjotre86 profile image
pjotre86

You run docker itself as non root on your machine. That's a good thing! But what I meant is to use a non root user inside your docker container. That has the benefit that your docker container would never claim root privileges, no matter on which machine it's running. That makes your docker image more secure and trustworthy. Here's a more elaborated explanation:
dzone.com/articles/docker-without-...

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abdorah profile image
Kotbi Abderrahmane Author

Sorry my bad I didn't understood what you really meant. Thank you for sharing this wonderful resource. In fact the easiest way that I know is to add an other user without root privileges. This is not only beneficial but also it can be necessary. Thank you for opening the discussion about this topic. It would be a great article ideaπŸ’‘.